UPDATE: March 24, 7:40 p.m.: Additional comments from Beshear was added.
UPDATE: The date the stay-at-home order will take effect was updated to Thursday, March 26.
FRANKFORT, KY (WOWK) – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced all non-essential businesses will close Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m. to public traffic.
“With this being the single biggest day that we have had so far with an increase in cases, we are going to have to keep taking increasingly significant steps as we move forward,” Beshear says. “We know we are in the time in any pandemic when we have escalating cases and we have to act, act now and act in a significant way that protects our people.”
Stores that are essential to Kentuckians will remain open. The full order will be released soon, he says.
The essential businesses can stay open must continue to practice social distancing recommendations.
“(This) is just the next step we need to take,” he says.
“With the rise in cases and knowing that these next probably two weeks are going to be some of the most important, we are going to take the next step; so effective Thursday at 8 p.m. we are going to be asking all non-life-sustaining businesses to close to in-person traffic,” Gov. Beshear said. “Even for those who are going to be excepted under this order, we are going to mandate that type of social distance that we have to see out there to protect our people.”
Gov. Beshear said the order will be out on Wednesday to give businesses more guidance. He said many businesses provide life-sustaining services and will be allowed to stay open, even though they must maintain social distancing.
The businesses that can stay open include grocery stores, drug stores and pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, agricultural operations, gas stations, media, businesses needed for transportation, logistics, shipping, delivery and pick-up, housing, building and construction, laundry, financial services, home-based care and services, professional services, manufacturing and other businesses key to national interests or life-sustaining goods or services and those covered under the federal critical infrastructure sector.
Beshear says most professional services, including attorneys, accountants and those in real estate, can be performed at home. Restaurants can remain open for delivery, curbside pickup and even carry out if they follow guidelines on social distancing.
The state government will re-evaluate the situation in 10 days.
Beshear confirmed today 39 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the state’s total up to 163.
He says one of today’s positive cases attended a Coronavirus party.
He hopes to never report on this matter again, he says. It should never happen.
“This makes me mad, and it should make you mad,” Beshear says. “There is the power of forgiveness and we will move on and forgive, but there should not be any more of these parties – for any reason.”
“We are battling for the health and even the lives of our parents and grandparents,” he added.
Multiple Kentucky industries have come together to make sanitizers for hospitals. Beshear says he wants to thank everyone that works to share meals. The state government will try to add additional workers to the ranks to help feed others.
“Provided it is a safe environment, we will be there,” he says.
Trigg, Graves, Mason, Taylor, Lawrence and Christian counties need help preparing more meals for seniors, he says. Kentuckians should reach out to their local elected officials if they can help.
Beshear especially wants to thank the person who donated 4,000 swabs anonymously today, he says. The state government will continue to accept donated medical supplies to help hospitals throughout the state.
“I want to thank whoever it is that dropped off 4,000 swabs today and didn’t even walk in to talk about it,” Beshear says. “Swabs are necessary to do kits and tests. Without swabs, you can’t do a test. This is running low all over the country and someone came in and just dropped off 4,000 today. I want to thank that individual. Amazing people do amazing things when it’s needed the most. So thank you very much.”
He says beginning with his Wednesday, March 25 broadcast, he will start with a video demonstrating how to explain COVID-19 to children. The video will feature how to discuss the matter with an older age group each day after.
Beshear says the Kentucky Department of Education has canceled plans to administer the K-PREP assessment for the 2019-2020 school year. K-PREP testing will resume in spring 2021 and current assessments will be in effect until then.
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